Spreading fungus ‘Basil downy mildew’ is a huge threat to the basil

July 27th, 2010 - 8:06 pm ICT by Aishwarya Bhatt  

New York, July 27 (THAINDIAN NEWS) America is under threat from a fungus that is threatening its basil crops.

The fungus - Basil downy mildew, which was first noticed in the United States in 2007 has spread throughout the country, but officials say the East Coast has been the hardest hit region.

The fungus has devastated plant growers in the United States. One farm owner - DeBaggio of Debaggio’s Herb Farm in Chantilly says he has already destroyed about 6,000 plants in his farm. The destroyed plants are being estimated at $18,000. “When you harvest it and turn it into pesto, no harm no foul because no one will know the difference. I can’t sell something that’s imperfect,” according to DeBaggio.

But scientists say the situation can be remedied if farmers increase the space between the plants and ensure that they plant in areas where the plants can get enough exposure to the sun.

Previously, there have been other downy mildew that affected other vegetables and plants but this is the first time that the fungus has affected basil. The fungus however is not harmful to humans but authorities say it will no doubt affect the fresh cut basil in the market.

The fungus will no doubt affect patrons of Italian and Thai foods.

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